I'd like to welcome Avon author Terri Garey back to the blog! Her newest release, A Match Made in Hell, is available now :-)
The Sanderson Sisters and Their Twelve Husbands
I’m a big believer in the “real life is stranger than fiction” theory. I mean, half the things that happen in real life would seem unbelievable if you read them on the page. My husband has been urging me for years to write a book about my three sisters, but—as I’ve pointed out to him on more than one occasion—they’d never speak to me again if I did. (To which his answer is, invariably, “And the problem with this is….?”)
Hence, the title of today’s blog (names have been changed to protect the innocent… meaning me!) Tell me, would you pick up a book with that title the bookstore? Just curious… he may be onto something!
Alas, since I’m not ready to be an only child just yet, that heartbreaking work of staggering genius will have to wait. *sigh* (Still, the holidays are coming up – one more Thanksgiving dinner may just be the push I need!)
Luckily, I have plenty of other material besides my immediate family – sometimes the universe just has a way of dumping odd characters on your doorstep. While I never answer my door if I can help it (for that very reason), I find myself unable to avoid this phenomenon when I travel.
As an example, let me tell you about a weekend trip I took a while ago to attend a writing conference. My flight was delayed, so when I arrived it was after dark. As I made my way curbside to grab a taxi, I was literally descended on by three men in suits who had stationed themselves near baggage claim, each of them loudly vying for my business. The conference hotel was nearly 45 minutes away, so I knew I had an expensive trip ahead of me, and went with the guy who told me he’d charge ten dollars less than the other two guys. The smug look he threw at his competitors should’ve been my first clue that all was not well in limo land. We had to walk to the parking garage to find his Lincoln Towncar, which I found odd. Odder still—once my luggage was in the trunk and I was in the back seat—he proceeded to regale me with the tale of his triumphant return to the taxi business. It seems that my oh-so-charming companion had just recently gotten out of the hospital, having had a run-in with a shady gentleman by the name of “Fat Mitch”, who had been determined to run my poor, innocent driver out of business, by hook or by crook. Oh, the evils of Fat Mitch, the levels he would go to! I heard all about it for the next 45 minutes, speeding down the Jersey turnpike—in the dark, in the rain, all alone with a guy who was evidently a target of the Jersey mob. All I could do was pray the towncar was bulletproof! By the time he told me that he’d seen the ghost of his deceased mother sitting in the front seat of that very same towncar right after he’d been to the funeral home to pick up her ashes, I was white as a ghost myself.
But the trip held more surprises, and more odd characters. The next day, on my way to a workshop, I noticed a middle-aged blonde woman standing in the middle of a hotel hallway. She had a dazed look in her eye, as though she was deep in thought. (Hey, I know you’re thinking, “Writer’s conference, dazed woman… what’s the big deal?) Well, when the workshop was over, I walked by again, and she was still standing there, in the exact same place, directly in the center of the hallway. An hour later, I traversed the same hallway, and there she was again! Facing the opposite direction this time, but still there. It was then I went to find hotel staff and advise them they might have a little bit more than your average crazed romance writer on their hands. Poor woman.
Unfortunately for me, I’d booked my room late and was therefore forced to take a cab to a neighboring hotel that evening. I glommed on to some total strangers who were in the same boat, sharing a cab so I didn’t have to risk the “Jersey ride of death” again myself, but the next morning I was out of luck and on my own. I breathed a huge sigh of relief when a perfectly normal Yellow Cab with a perfectly normal-looking woman behind the wheel showed up, but for some reason the woman decided that I was the perfect person with which to share the juicy details of her recent breakup, which involved strippers, her teenage daughter, an ex-boyfriend with a drug and alcohol problem, and something about linguine. (If anybody can figure out the linguine part, please let me know. I was numb by that point.)
By the time the conference was over, a Bandita with a British accent, a shoe problem and a husband who looks like Colin Firth was kind enough to take me to the airport (for which I shall be forever grateful!). The heavens, however, were not so cooperative, and heavy rains delayed my flight once again. Anyone who’s been stranded in an airport at 2 o’clock in the morning knows it’s a recipe for disaster, and New Jersey did not disappoint. My first encounter was with a young, chatty guy who turned out to be a rapper deejay with a stage name so filthy that I refuse to type it. I still have his business card around here somewhere; he wanted me to look him up if I ever needed entertainment at a party, or like… a wedding. (Yeah, right.)
Then, a woman who’d attended the same writing conference came up—being stuck in the airport, just like me—and struck up a conversation. Thank the Lord (says I), a fellow romance writer! Well-dressed! Well-groomed! A light at the end of the tunnel!
Not. The woman handed me her card by way of introduction, and all I can tell you is that her pen name was the equivalent of Sunstar Moonflower. She was “dabbling” in writing a futuristic romance, which was based on the “true story” of her abduction by aliens, and the resulting universal truths that they imparted to her. I still get regular email newsletters from her that talk about the “new earth” and the “unified field of consciousness”, in which she refers to herself as a “visionary”. (Earth to Sunstar: the aliens may have landed, but they’d probably choose a better vehicle to disseminate knowledge than online newsletters.)
My point, if you’ve read this far, is that real life truly is stranger than fiction. I couldn’t have made up these characters or these experiences if I tried! But they give me great fodder for my writing, and keep me out of trouble with my sisters. So far. J (Although one of them is about to get married again… which would make my imaginary title The Sanderson Sisters and Their Thirteen Husbands, but I digress. )
So what’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you? Who’s the oddest person you’ve ever met? What experience have you had that people would find hard to believe actually happened? Share, and I’ll choose one lucky commenter to win a signed copy of my newest release from Avon HarperCollins, A Match Made In Hell.